(Recasts with Barrick’s new discovery, adds more CEO comments)
By Jeff Lewis
DENVER, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A fresh gold discovery by Barrick Gold Corp in Nevada is “fantastically significant” and shows there still is rich potential in the region for exploration, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in an interview on Tuesday.
Barrick announced the discovery hole on Tuesday and said its proximity about 1.25-mile (2 kilometers) from the company’s Fourmile project points to at least one more Tier 1 gold mine through the combination of Fourmile with the nearby Goldrush development project.
“We’re super excited about that,” Bristow said on the sidelines of the Denver Gold Forum. “That’s the potential that’s there in Nevada, still for me.”
Bristow also said the company is on track to achieve by the end 2019 half of expected cost savings of $450 million to $500 million at its Nevada joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp Corp.
Bristow said 2019 gold production is trending toward the top end of its guidance range of 5.1 million ounces to 5.6 million ounces.
Barrick has completed a string of major deals including its acquisition of Rangold Resources and its joint venture with Newmont over the past year.
Last week, a British court approved Barrick’s $1.2 billion takeover of Tanzania-focused unit Acacia Mining Plc, removing the last hurdle to completing the deal.
Barrick has taken the lead in the negotiations to resolve an outstanding $300 million tax bill with the Tanzanian government.
Bristow said the company resumed production Tuesday at its North Mara gold mine in the country after addressing concerns about seepage at the project’s tailings storage facility. He said he expects a ban on the export of gold concentrates from the country to be lifted imminently.
Barrick is keen to shed $1.5 billion worth of less-productive mines but it has also stepped up exploration efforts and is actively seeking to acquire assets, particularly in Canada, Bristow said.
“We should have more assets in Canada. We are hunting them. We’ve got a team there.” (Reporting by Jeff Lewis Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)